Tis A Gift To Share

For it is in giving that we receive” ~Frances of Assisi

Hi! It’s so nice to see you today. I must say that lately I’ve been feeling a little orphan like. sort of joking


With my husband away on business in California and one of my good friends off traveling, I’m feeling just a little needy. I had one of those aha moments which taught me something about myself very humbling and here it is… that even though there are fun wonderful things (and friends) I’m involved in, the reality is the best part of life comes through sharing those experiences with others. You more than likely already know this. (Which is more than likely why we are friends) So needless to say I’m delighted to have you stop by today you are out there… right?  Ironically while I was experiencing that aha moment one of my dear 900 mile away California friends sent me an e-mail  sharing about a tea party she had recently hosted. which  made me  happy to hear about  because as I said shared experiences are what life is all about. So anyway in today’s post I’d like to share it with you. And, who knows…perhaps you might end up sharing it with someone you know.

California Girlfriends Spring Tea hosted by Becky

The theme was antique green Fiesta-ware collected over the years by Becky’s sister Kathy. The pieces range in year from  1929-1936. There are many unusual pieces.

The table was decorated with a Bunny Centerpiece that Becky got at an antique store. she couldn’t resist those cute bunnies and filled it will pink carnations/green fern.

The table runner is very old with pink roses/green leaves hand embroidered by someone’s loving hands years ago. Becky mentioned that she wonders about what this person’s life was like 

Here is the table all set


Homemade scones with five berry compote, lemon curd and whipped cream.

Second course was a spring salad a la Nordstrom’s miss my California girlfriends sense of humor which was made of spring greens, baby spinach, green apple slices, slivered chicken, red onion bits, dried apple crumbles, soft goat cheese, candied pecans and red wine vinaigrette.

Third course was homemade beef stew and hot biscuits with butter and apple butter.

The last course was a pecan dainty with scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Drinks were carbonated lemonade or ginger ale served in the small green glasses, and hot tea in the pink tea cups. The first pot of tea was a light orange tea. The second pot was chamomile tea. us tea ladies are serious drinkers

Looks like everyone shared in a lovely afternoon. I was inspired to bake up some scones and gather friends together and share a moment or two.

Below is one of my favorite scone recipes that I’d like to share. For many years (along with teaching elementary school) I had a seasonal tea business, and would host 3-4  tea parties a year. During the tea I’d also sell tea accouterments, & home decor. One year a  vender who I purchased products from sent me this scone recipe. I used it frequently at my teas. What I like about baking scones is that they are easy, and you can change them up to use available seasonal fruit as substitutes.

I’m going to tell you a little secret too. I would substitute the strawberries with one small can of mandarin oranges & add a 1/2 of bag of mini chocolate chips. Perfect~o!


2 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, chilled

1 egg

1/3 cup half and half

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries ( I substitute with mandarin oranges)

Mix together first 4 ingredients. Cut butter into dry mixture until crumbly. In another bowl, mix egg and half & half. Pour into well of dry ingredients and stir until moistened Mix in strawberries.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Pat into 1″ thickness and cut into triangle shapes. (I would  spoon out a scoop)

Place scones onto baking sheet, brush tops with milk, sprinkle with sugar and bake 12-14 minutes at 400. Serve warm with Strawberry Cream Cheese.

Posted in Garden/Tea Time | 8 Comments

A GeTaWaY bY tHe SeA…

This is a re-post from April 24, 2015. I had flown to the Oregon coast for a visit to see if this is where I wanted to begin the next chapter of life.  I returned back to California & sold my BMWx5 and purchased a JEEP.  The adventure continues….

Hello, Welcome to Marcia’s Cottage. I’m so happy to see you today my friend. Shall we have a little tea. 

How’s your week been? Any fun plans for the weekend?

Well. ..I’ve been spending some time on the Oregon coast.





This is where my husband and I hope to move. It’s a long story, and perhaps you’d enjoy reading this post http://www.marciascottagebythesea.com/2014/06/our-cottage-by-sea/to find out more. Oh, wait! I’m wondering if you are new to Marcia’s Cottage? Then you really must read this first http://www.marciascottagebythesea.com/2014/11/goodbyehello/ And, while your at it…if your on Pinterest make sure to check this out too http:www.pinterest.com/marcialren/my-cottage-by-the-sea Okay, that’s all the promoting I’m doing for today. (grin)

So, anyway, our home in California is on the market. Any chance you wanna buy it. … (grin)


And, I have been committed to taking little steps every day to make this happen.

  It’s most definitely the next chapter in my life.


And, I refer to it as an “unknown” adventurous experience.

One that requires an attitude of being open to many possibilities.

                      Such as living in the Pacific Northwest

                                       meeting new people

                       learning how to cook more coastal (not sure what I mean by that)

I’m beginning to think that moving to a different area, is sort of like experiencing a foreign country. Other than the language, many things must be learned all over again.

                                      Where to shop,


                                   places for entertainment

                       how to develop new friendships…

finding your way. Creating a new life. Finding home. The adventure of anything might happen.

 There are many times where “Uncertainty” can be a blessing in disguise, because it challenges us to invest in life with meaning.

 Recently, I realized that if I were absolutely certain about all things in this next chapter, I would more than likely be miserably anxious, or fearful of losing my way.

 But since “anything is possible”, the miraculous is always nearby and wonders shall never, never cease.

So I’m embracing the uncertainty of this adventure with open arms. Cheers to embracing uncertainty! (eyes wide open) Happy weekending!


With picnic like weather these recipes are a perfect match. Of course since I’ve been vacationing on the coast, I substitute salmon or lobster. (grin)

(makes 2-4 servings)

1 (12-ounce loaf French bread, halved horizontally
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (8ounce) package sliced Gouda cheese
3/4 pound sliced deli mesquite-smoked turkey
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 to 1 1/2  cups fresh baby arugula

1. remove soft centers from each bread half, leaving 1-inch thick shell. Discard centers or reserve for another use.
2. In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, basil, lemon juice, and garlic powder; spread onto cut sides of bread halves. Top bottom half of bread with all remaining ingredients, and cover with top half of bread, cut side down.
3. Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving.

(Serves 4-6)

1/2 (16-ounce) package orecchiette pasta
1/4 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces and blanched
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup Dill Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Garnish: fresh dill

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. In a large bowl, stir together asparagus, next 2 ingredients, and prepared pasta.  Add Dill Vinaigrette, stirring gently to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with chopped dill, if desired.

Makes about 2/3 cup

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/16 teaspoon onion powder

1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving or up to 3 days.




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Just Another Week in Paradise

“Take care to keep open house: Because in this way some have had angels as their guests, without being conscious of it” ~Hebrews 13:2

I’ve been meaning to share with you a chair that I saw a few weeks ago. It seems as if I’m often finding chairs that call out to me.

This particular one came home with me that day.

Oh and since we are becoming such good friends I also thought I’d  share a little quirky thing I do quite often 

Periodically I go on the outside and pretend that I’m a visitor.

I walk, look around and imagine that I’ve never seen the place before.

I try to see what catches my eye, what I like and most importantly

what makes a welcoming greeting.

With that said I started thinking about Hospitality. ( perhaps it had something to do with the aforementioned chair) or maybe this past weeks visit at a friend’s home.

 During my California living days many friends would mention that I had a gift of hospitality.

Later, when I got married friends would say both my husband and I carried the Hospitality gene. I suppose in many ways hospitality is a gift.

However, I’m thinking that Hospitality like many gifts & talents  come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and that with just a little practice anyone can have it. I have had lots of practice 

Do you feel comfortable having guests over? Not everyone does. This discomfort is most likely due in part to a lack of practice. and that can be remedied.

 Trust me the more you practice hospitality the easier it becomes. Maybe this weeks visit to my friends home gently reminded me that real Hospitality can thrive in the humblest circumstances.

It’s really just a matter of opening our lives to others… giving them the best we have to offer. The only real requirements are beauty and warmth & that little bit of extra effort.

Hospitality is not about inviting people into our perfect homes; it is all about inviting people into our imperfect hearts.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about practicing hospitality. First find yourself a good mentor. I’m often drawn to people who I admire their traits. I watch what they do I was blessed with the best mentors.

My parents both had the gift of Hospitality.  Hospitality was modeled. I also seek out new friendships. that’s the extrovert in me Friendships & hospitality go hand in hand. I have found that the more I let go of the idea that Hospitality is all about impressing others with what I have, I realize the opportunities to show them who I am

Don’t wait until you think you’re ready, because you might never be. Instead, invite friends, family, and even strangers ones that often become special friends into your imperfect heart as often as you can. True hospitality is free.

Here is an easy nosh for any last minute Hospitality. What I really liked about this recipe is that it is easy to prepare & you can use almost anything you have on hand for a substitute. It’s very tasty & filling enough for a meal. if you aren’t too hungry.


6 pitas (I used whole wheat)

4 oz. Greek feta, crumbled

1/2 c. Greek yogurt

1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

juice of 1 lemon, divided

2 cucumbers, chopped

1/2 c. chopped kalamata olives

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 c. chopped dill


1. Preheat oven to 400

2. Slice pita into wedges. Put triangles in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbs. olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. Toss to combine. Bake until toasted, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, make whipped feta. In a large bowl, combine feta, 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, olive oil & juice of half a lemon. With a hand mixer, mix until fluffy.

4. Dollop whipped feta on baked pita chips. Garnish with cucumber, olives, tomatoes, & dill. Drizzle with more olive oil & the remaining lemon juice over the chips.


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Beauty and The Bloom

“Whenever you experience awesome beauty, absorb it inside yourself. It does affect your soul. Once there, it lifts your spirits & is alive in you now and as a memory forever”  ~Marcia

I’m thinking that I might have already mentioned this about how I was surprised to find out that in 110 years of weather history on the Oregon coast this past winter ranked number 8 in rainfall who knows perhaps 4 by now Okay…actually…. I’m not really that surprised because  seriously it has rained a lot!

That being said there’s just no excuse for me not making the most of the Spring even with the continuing April showers

I am delirious with just the thought of it.

With spring cleaning behind me woohoo!!!! I’m out and about every chance I get. walking, gardening, or riding my bike. and of course jeep hopping

The most precious heralds of spring for me are the flowers. My heart smiles when I see the crocuses popping up their little heads and cherry blossoms appearing seemingly overnight.

Their petals scattering like snowfall. My hydrangeas are getting ready to blossom, I love my hydrangeas and a few of my roses are blooming I love my roses.


 One of my all time favorite flowers are putting on a show right this minute at Shore Acres located on the Oregon coast.

I have posted on this fabulous place before.read more or even more I love the Tulips because in many ways they are similar to us.

They smile, talk, and let you know when they need water, have too much light; and I read somewhere that before they die, they are actually at their most serenely beautiful, stems flagging as if reaching out for that final embrace.

Just look at them! The shapes are fascinating: the small, round petals and the pointed ones.

Also similar to roses (and people) they come in an astonishing variety. so much beauty

I can’t think of any better spirit lifter than being able to see these beauties rising from the earth in Spring.


Wishing you and your family a lovely Easter.

This week I tried out a new recipe I found on Delish. I enjoyed preparing it. It was like working in the garden…only in the kitchen. What I liked about it was it’s very easy to make & even though it has cream cheese & Parmesan it feels healthy. Next time I think I’ll add more carrots!   I’m thinking it would make for a lovely side dish.



1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan

1 tsp. lemon juice

tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large zucchini

1 large yellow squash

1 large carrot, peeled

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat over to 350. Unroll crescent dough and separate into triangles. Arrange triangles in an 8″  pie pan in a circular pattern around the pan, with the narrow pointing toward the center. Pinch the edges together slightly. Bake until slightly golden, about 10 minutes, then let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice, thyme and parsley.

Season with salt and pepper and beat until mixture is very smooth.

Cut the zucchini, yellow squash and carrot in half lengthwise. Lay each vegetable on a cutting board, cut-side down, and thinly slice each vegetable lengthwise into long thick strips, about 1/8″ (You should be able to bend them)

You may need to peel carrots into long thick strips, as cutting them thinly can be difficult.

Spread cream cheese mixture on baked crescent crust. Roll one of the vegetable strips into a tight coil and place it in the center of the tart.

Arrange vegetable slices  in tight concentric circles around the middle, alternating colors, until the tart is filled. Drizzle the top with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the vegetables are tender and the crust is a deep golden, 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


I also wanted to share the progress of a Memory Garden I started for Lady Teah & Lord Earl Grey. I hope you enjoy it. Like everything here it too is a process.

Posted in Coastal Living | Tagged | 2 Comments

La Primavera

“To have complete satisfaction from flowers you must have time to spend with them. There must be rapport. I talk to them and they talk to me.” ~ Princess Grace of Monaco

Happy April Everyone!

I’ve been having so much fun digging in the garden that there are days when I’ve totally lost track of time…

yes….totally. seriously


How do you keep track of time?

When I was teaching elementary school my time was scheduled around the academic school year. Christmas break, Spring break, Summer vacation

 Time changed after retirement of course

And now at this time and (it being the second Spring) since moving to the Oregon coast

I can safely say that much of my time is measured by the weather. RAIN=Fall/Winter, DRY=Summer, SUNSHINE= Spring.

The seasons of the earth in some way seem to effect the seasons of my mind.

With that said it feels as if the year also begins in the Springtime since it’s a time when the days start gaining on the nights, regeneration, new fragrances, and the fabulous feeling of sunshine on my face. heavenly  

 On a recent drive through the countryside I experienced some beautiful cherry trees in blossom and sheep were grazing in the nearby fields.

There’s something very satisfying about having your own outdoor space however small it may be (some of the most beautiful gardens occur in small spaces).

When I returned home all I wanted to do was go outside and listen to the sounds of my garden in hopes of discovering where I might be able to create just a little more beauty in my corner of the world. To live according to the season for me is to be alert to this awakening.

How is your garden planning coming along?

During the summer of 2005 Joe and I traveled to France. read more Before our departure I learned as much as possible about this beautiful country.  I enjoyed reading a book French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano it was here that I discovered this fabulous recipe.  Of course I tweaked it to make it my own. I hope you enjoy it.

Marcia’s Springtime Pasta Primavera


1 lb Farfalle pasta (or pasta of your choice)

2 cups fresh broccoli florets

2 cups asparagus spears, trimmed & cut into 2-in pieces

1 large sweet pepper, diced

1 cup roasted pine nuts

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Salt & pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese for topping


1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute broccoli, asparagus, pepper, onion, and garlic in olive oil until veggies are just tender, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in spinach, peas, and cherry tomatoes & continue cooking an additional 5 minutes.

3. Remove cooked veggies from heat and stir in cooked pasta. 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water, lemon juice, and basil. Season with salt & pepper to taste and top pasta primavera with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Posted in Garden/Tea Time | 5 Comments